Naval Air Station Lemoore Welcomes F-35Cs
LEMOORE, Calif. — Four F-35C Lightning II aircraft arrived at Naval Air Station Lemoore Jan. 25, the Navy said in a Jan. 25 statement. The aircraft will join Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, the Rough Raiders.
The Rough Raiders of VFA-125, which were reactivated on Jan. 12, will be the Navy’s West Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron for the F-35C, responsible for training the next generation of naval aviators on the aircraft.
Nearly 400 Sailors, family members and civic leaders were on hand at Lemoore to welcome the four jets. Speaking at the ceremony were Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces; Rear Adm. Roy Kelly, director of the Navy F-35 Fleet Integration Office; Capt. Markus Gudmundsson, commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific; and Jeff Babione, executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 program for Lockheed Martin.
"The jets behind me represent the incredible new fifth-generation capability for our future air wings, with its stealth qualities it can penetrate threat envelopes, its integrated sensor packages collect and fuse information, providing a common operational picture for the carrier strike group and joint force commanders," Shoemaker told the audience. “This is truly game changing technology and no kidding — what it takes to win the future high-end fight — and it will operate alongside the necessary and complementary fourth-generation capabilities and capacity of our super hornets — as well as the rest of our future air wing — Growlers, advanced Hawkeyes and carrier-based unmanned platforms."
By the end of the year, VFA-125 is scheduled to have 10 F-35Cs on strength. VFA-147 will be the first fleet squadron scheduled to make the transition to the F-35C, scheduled for 2018. More than 100 F-35Cs are planned for basing at Lemoore by the early 2020s.